4 Jan 2019

Rejuvinated Neesham on the path to success

4:47 pm on 4 January 2019

Black Caps all-rounder James Neesham says moving to Wellington has helped him rediscover his bowling form following his 18-month hiatus from the New Zealand cricket side.

Blackcaps' James Neesham walks from the field at the end of the Backcaps innings.

James Neesham's knock in yesterday's win over Sri Lanka proved pivotal. Photo: Photosport

Neehsam was one of the stars as he returned to national duty impressing with both bat and ball as the Black Caps beat Sri Lanka by 45 runs in the opening One Day International (ODI) in Mount Maunganui.

The 28-year-old hit 47 runs off 13 balls, including his 33-run blast in one over, and then took three wickets for 38 runs.

"To get the win first up was most important.

"I wasn't really too concerned with the runs and and wickets to be fair, I think it was more about trying to enjoy returning to the team again and getting around the lads again and to be fair they've been really welcoming and it was just a lot of fun."

Neesham said bowling has been his main focus since being left out of the team.

"Moving to Wellington (from Otago) has been really good for that, Hamish Bennett (Wellington captain) has been amazing to work with down there and pretty much now I train as a front line bowler and get my batting training done when I can."

"Obviously the increased work load, the increased number of balls I've been bowling, are helping a lot and I know I have the ability to bowl up around that 140 (kilometre) mark and if I'm bowling well that's good enough and it's a case of being more consistent and it was a good start yesterday obviously."

Neesham said stamina is one of the key benefits of all the hard work he's been putting in.

"Yesterday (during the first ODI) I was keeping an eye on the speed gun during the second spell and it was still reasonably up there about the seven to eight over mark which has been a bugbear of mine in the past.

"But really I think it's more about confidence around my technique and when I spent the winter in Auckland by myself, bowling by myself, it was a breath of fresh air not to be concentrating on technical things rather it was more about how the ball was feeling coming out."

"Now with Hamish Bennett's work I have the confidence at the top of my mark that if I do everything right and my fingertips release the ball properly then it will come out as quick as any all-rounder around and it's just about the little one percenters with the consistency now and hopefully moving forward it will continue to get better."

Neesham has now played 42 ODI's for New Zealand since debuting in 2013, he has a batting average of 28.6 and a bowling average of 35.97 with an economy rate of 6.45.